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How to help your children be financially independent by age 18
I don't make a lot of money. Most people in my position are living paycheck by paycheck. But when I think about it, people who make much more than I do are living the same way. I'm content because I am good at saving money, and that's the way that it's been since I was in high school. I graduated from college without debts, I bought two cars, and I buy basically whatever I (really really) want because I can make smart choices about saving. I have contribute a decent amount toward my retirement. I haven't had to ask my parents for money... well, ever! And I'm proud of it. I even bought a house by myself.
I thank my mother and father for this. They did a great job at raising me so that I could be financially independent and stable. There are a few things that they did stress in my youth, and I will try to impart what I can observe that my parents did:
- Value hard work - My parents have always praised people who get up early and work hard. Even when I was little and I picked lemons and made my own lemonade for my front-yard stand, I can remember my parents complimenting me and telling me what a good job I did. (I can also remember my parents jeering my brother for sleeping in and going in late to work.) It was easy for me to get a job and work all summer, every summer in high school because I can remember my dad telling everying about my job and how proud he was of me. I guess in this case, a parent has to have the respect of their child in order to encourage them to work and raise money... So that's up to you :)
- Don't buy them "stuff" - Sure, my family bought presents for Christmas and birthdays, and occasional little gifts for when I did a great job, but they never bought me whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. I understood the value of money because I had to earn it and I was responsible for spending it. I know a lot of friends whose parents would just buy them things - their first car, their first apartment in college... their college tuition - and they would just crash the car and everything else they were given. I shuddered.
- Educate them about financial items of business - Teach kids about taxes, stocks, and other things that most people wouldn't think about until they're adults. It helps bring a child to maturity; if they're treated like a child, then they will act like a child, and so if you involve a child in activities they will need to know eventually, then they can get a jump on them and learn about them earlier. My mom taught me about writing checks when I wasn't quite 10, and now I'm great at balancing my books. I've never paid a bill late, and I know it's directly because of that education.
- Inspire independence - If a child is to feel that they can make wise financial decisions on their own, they should feel that they can make other important decisions on their own, as well. My mom let me help with buying her car and big appliances, making me feel responsible and giving me the confidence to make those decisions in my own life.
- Teach them that money isn't everything - When I was a child, we never had any expensive things, and we never went on any crazy-expensive trips. We had our backyard with our creek full of animals and new, natural things to play with. We played games outside and spent our summer vacations at our grandparents' mobile home at the local lake. We never depended on having material things, and as a result, I never feel the need to buy anything expensive. I'm much happier to put my money away!
Budgeting for Teenagers - SunTrust
- Are You Raising Your Kids To Be Financially Independent?
Are you teaching your kids to be dependent on you, or to be financially independent?
- How to Teach Your Kids to Become Financially Independent - Forbes
Most parents don't find time to teach their kids how to manage their finances. Here are few simple steps they can take that will teach their kids to be financially independent.
- Ensure your kids are financially independent | Moneywise